At the Arizona Center for Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility, we are intently attuned to our patients’ wishes and comfort levels throughout the entire treatment process. We let them know upfront, during our very first appointment, all the options that are available to them as we work to solve their infertility.
It’s important to us that our patients are fully on board with every test and procedure, and for this to happen, they need to know they have a say in the treatment options they choose to move forward with; they are actually in control of their treatment plan.
Understanding the Reasons Behind Infertility
Typically, the causes of infertility can be categorized into areas.
- Ovulation—A lack of ovulation or irregular ovulation can increase the difficulty a woman faces getting pregnant.
- Sperm quality and motility—Sperm must be able to adequately “swim” to the egg in order to fertilize it.
- Age of conception attempts—Fertility naturally decreases with age, so the longer a couple waits to have children, the more complications and obstacles they may face in becoming pregnant. For example, two common problems that increase with age are uterine fibroids or pelvic endometriosis.
Once we complete the tests to identify the potential cause of infertility we can create a treatment plan with several options to resolve the issue.
Knowing Your Treatment Options
Typically, no matter the root cause of infertility, we are able to offer couples several options for treating the problem. We’ll usually try the simplest, most low-tech options to increase fertility first, based on the results of their tests. Often, couples are able to achieve a successful pregnancy before we even complete testing, because every month we try to increase fertility is a month with an increased chance of a pregnancy. So if those initial attempts are successful, we don’t need to proceed with more extensive testing or treatments.
However, the patients who don’t get pregnant immediately know they have several other treatment options we can move onto to ultimately achieve a pregnancy. Since there are multiple options, eventually, almost every couple we work with can get pregnant.
A classic example of the importance of choice can be seen in a woman diagnosed with pelvic endometriosis. Many times with that diagnosis, everything else—ovulation, fallopian tubes, and the male component—is normal, yet the patient still has difficulty achieving a pregnancy.
When this is the case, there are several reasonable options for treatment.
- The first is as simple as fertility enhancing treatments and hormones to make the woman more fertile.
- Surgical treatment, to directly treat the pelvic endometriosis, is another option to correct the problem and increase fertility.
- Finally, a woman has the choice to move forward with in vitro fertilization, which tends to be very successful in achieving a pregnancy.
When we present these options to our patients, we never push one procedure over another; we simply give them all the information they would need and help guide their decision based on what’s best for them.
Why Having a Choice Matters
At AZCREI, we meet with many couples who have previously sought treatment at other centers where they were not given a choice. Those procedures may be what are best for the clinic, but not necessarily what’s best for the patient.
If one treatment option is potentially more successful, we’re certainly not going to withhold that information from patients or pressure them into undergoing the most basic treatment first. Some patients may want to start with the simpler option, while others might want to jump straight into in vitro, so it’s important to listen to their wishes and present them with all the available options.
We know there are several factors—religious beliefs, age, time spent trying to conceive, etc.—that affect a patient or couple’s comfort and acceptance of the procedures. That’s why having options is very helpful; if a patient doesn’t want to move forward with a particular treatment, we can choose to proceed in a different direction.
You are always in control of your treatment plan at AZCREI. To learn more about your options and make an appointment, contact our office by calling (520) 326-0001 or visiting us online.